To Possess a Generous Heart and Apostolic Spirit

The following is an excerpt from the Marian Press book 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle:

“Pure love is capable of great deeds, and it is not broken by difficulty or adversity ... It knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love — love, and always love.”
Diary, 140

This week’s spiritual exercise involves possessing a generous heart and apostolic spirit, both of which we will explore as we continue on with Sr. Faustina, discovering what unfolded during and after that amazing encounter with Jesus in the chapel. Sister Faustina shares about preparing for her “perpetual betrothal” and the intense longing of her heart for Jesus. Then Jesus reveals essential meditations for Sr. Faustina and a powerful prayer of conversion. Let’s get to it! 

During that amazing Adoration, Sr. Faustina became mystically united to God. It was an experience almost impossible to describe. She wrote, “A great mystery has been accomplished between God and me. Courage and strength have remained in my soul.” Sister Faustina was immensely transformed. She said her body remained the same, but her soul was different: “God was now living in it with the totality of His delight.” She knew it was not a mere feeling, but rather “a conscious reality that nothing can obscure” (Diary, 137). After giving her consent to be a “victim offering” for Jesus, she felt an immense sense of calm take hold of her heart. She was ready for whatever would be required of her as Jesus’ little victim soul. Just as soon as she left the chapel, the first splinter from the Cross jabbed her in the heart. It was an intense humiliation that Sr. Faustina would suffer because of a certain person awaiting her in the corridor. “I accepted it with submission to a higher will and snuggled closely to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, letting Him know that I was ready for that for which I had offered myself” (Diary, 138).

“Suffering seemed to spring out of the ground”

Sister Faustina certainly possessed a generous heart and wished to please her Lord. She was ready to suffer even more for Him. She remarked, “Suffering seemed to spring out of the ground.” She surely didn’t need to look for it, for it found her! Sister Faustina said that even Mother Margaret was surprised by the amount of sudden suffering that she would endure. But Sr. Faustina delighted in it, knowing that it was being used for good. She said, “I rejoiced at this in the depths of my soul and had been ready for it for a long time.” This victim soul was learning much about the mystery of redemptive suffering. She wrote, “I see now that a soul cannot do much of itself, but with God it can do all things. Behold what God’s grace can do.” She continued, “Few are the souls that are always watchful for divine graces, and even fewer of such souls who follow those inspirations faithfully” (Diary, 138).

Longing for God, and God’s attributes

Sister Faustina felt an intense longing for God as she entered the Advent season that year. She said, “My spirit rushed toward God with all its might.” God would enlighten the humble sister about His greatest attributes: holiness, justice, and love and mercy. Sister Faustina wrote, “His holiness is so great that all the Powers and Virtues tremble before Him. The pure spirits veil their faces and lose themselves in unending adoration, and with one single word they express the highest form of adoration; that is — Holy ... .” She continued to record what she had learned. “The holiness of God is poured out upon the Church of God and upon every living soul in it, but not in the same degree,” she wrote. “There are souls who are completely penetrated by God, and there are those who are barely alive” (Diary, 180). The Lord then enlightened Sr. Faustina about His justice. “His justice is so great and penetrating that it reaches deep into the heart of things, and all things stand before Him in naked truth, and nothing can withstand Him.” The third attribute consists of love and mercy. Sister Faustina wrote, “And I understood that the greatest attribute is love and mercy. It unites the creature with the Creator. This immense love and abyss of mercy,” she continued, “are made known in the Incarnation of the Word and in the Redemption [of humanity], and it is here that I saw this as the greatest of all God’s attributes” (Diary, 180).

Blessed graces

A very blessed grace was bestowed upon the young mystic the day before Christmas: a special closeness to the Blessed Mother. Sister Faustina stepped into the chapel and prayed to the Blessed Mother to grant graces to her loved ones. Sister Faustina’s spirit was totally steeped in God. She recalled, “I relived her interior sentiments” (Diary, 183). What an amazing grace it would be to share in Mother Mary’s own Nativity sentiments!

Later during midnight Mass, Sr. Faustina saw the Child Jesus in the Host and recalled, “[M]y spirit was immersed in Him. Although He was a tiny Child, His majesty penetrated my soul” (Diary, 182). Sister Faustina meditated upon the mystery and the “great abasement on the part of God,” the “inconceivable emptying of Himself” (Diary, 182). This all remained very vividly alive in the mystic’s soul all throughout the holy season. The Child Jesus would visit with Sr. Faustina on other occasions, as well. One time when Sr. Faustina was trying to meditate on Jesus’ Passion, she was suddenly filled with joy when the Child Jesus showed up! She remarked to Him that He was so little, but she knew He was her Creator and Lord. He answered the saint in the making, “I am [your Creator and Lord], and I keep company with you as a child to teach you humility and simplicity” (Diary, 184).

Jesus’ Loving Heart Burns for Souls

Sister Faustina was always busy preparing her heart and soul for her perpetual vows, or as she put it, her “perpetual betrothal.” No matter what happened each day, Sr. Faustina was prepared to offer it all for the love of God and His holy will. She wrote, “I gathered all my sufferings and difficulties into a bouquet for Jesus for the day of our perpetual betrothal. Nothing was difficult for me, when I remembered it was for my Betrothed as proof of my love for Him” (Diary, 184). Sister Faustina worked hard at achieving great silence for Jesus. She suffered much, but wrote, “But what can be too great for Jesus, for Him whom I love with all the strength of my heart?” (Diary, 185).

Soon, Jesus would intimately reveal essential meditations for Sr. Faustina, as well as a powerful prayer of conversion. Sister Faustina recalls that great day in her Diary. She wrote, “Today Jesus said to me, ‘I desire that you know more profoundly the love that burns in My Heart for souls and you will understand this when you meditate upon My Passion. Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer:

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You” (Diary, 186-87). 
This is a powerful prayer that we should pray often with deep faith and contrite hearts. Jesus promised the grace of conversion for sinners through this prayer. Sister Faustina wholeheartedly desired the salvation of souls, and so she made sure to pray that new prayer often for sinners. One time, she wrote about the necessity of an apostolic spirit: “Our life is truly apostolic; I cannot imagine a religious living in one of our houses; that is, in our Community, and not having an apostolic spirit. Zeal for the salvation of souls should burn in our hearts” (Diary, 350).

Something to Ponder

Take some time today and ponder your life and your attitude. Do you have a generous heart and an apostolic spirit? Can you ask God to help you in those areas? This week, think about Sr. Faustina’s ways of handling the humiliations and sufferings in her daily life. How did she continue to put one foot in front of the other to walk in faith? Sure, Jesus was granting her many tremendous graces, but she had a humungous weight on her shoulders in her call to propagate the Divine Mercy message to the world. However, God grants graces to each of us in different ways, according to our missions. Be sure to ask God for many graces and strive to be open to God’s will in your life.

A Merciful Action

Pray Jesus’ special prayer for sinners as often as you can this week. Also, reach out to someone with whom you don’t exactly see eye-to-eye and shower them with God’s love in some concrete way. Do your best. Pray about it.

A Prayer of Mercy for this Week
(To be prayed each day this week.)
Dear Merciful Jesus, I love You. I want to care more for sinners and help them with my prayers. O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us,
I trust in You.
Mother Mary and St. Faustina,
please pray for me.
Jesus, I trust in You!
Amen.
 

You can order 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle here:

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